22 May 2004

Chelete (Money)

/CHE-le-te/: A noun whose etymology is unknown to me. When did we start using money? Before the arrival of money as we know it today, did chelete mean something else? Lesotho's currency is the loti (sing.) or maloti (pl.).

"Give me 32-maloti worth of minced meat, please."
Reminder: Sesotho plurals go at the beginning of the word. One loti, two or more maloti; one moshanyana (boy), two or more bashanyana (boys); one ntlo (house), two or more matlo (houses).

One loti is made up of a hundred lisente (of course, we say one sente (cent) and two or more lisente (cents)).

When I was young in Lesotho we had liteke (tickeys) and lisheleng (shillings), which were replaced by South African cents and rands. Maloti were introduced in 1980, were and are used simultaneously with the rand, and remain to this day at a par with their South African counterparts.

Related phrases:

Ke bokae? /KE-bo-ka-E/
How much is it?

E turu /E-TU-ru/
It's expensive.

Mphe chelete /m-PHE-CHE-le-te/
Gimme some money.

Ha kena chelete /ha-KE-na-CHE-le-te/
I haven't got any money.

Ke hloka chelete /ke-hlo-ka-CHE-le-te/
I need money.

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